“Living in a City That Allows You to be Autonomous Gives You a Brand New Mindset!”

To discover what it is like to move from warm Spain to dark and cold Finland, we wanted to chat with Leyre, our Lead Artist, who did just that only a couple of months ago. From developing professionally and meeting people to living in a city that offers ease of life and promotes good work–life balance, Leyre will go through it all and more. Disclaimer: She likes it here – or at least still does, before witnessing her first winter here.

Honestly, what did you think of Finland before joining Wondershop and how has that image changed over the time – or has it?

"I’ve always loved the Nordic countries. Everything nature-related in these countries has always enchaways thought it looked like a very beautiful but dark, cold place where it is probably difficult to meet new friends.

It is true that it is cold, but I prefer it to the extreme warmness.

It is true that it is dark, but in return you can get beautiful and unique landscapes because of it – or so I've been told, since I haven’t yet experienced winter here.

It’s also true that people might not be as open as in other European countries at the beginning, but feels like everyone is always open to listen and willing to help as much as they can. And being new in a totally different country, this feels pretty much like home."

How did Helsinki manage to tempt you to move here?

"Salaries are very competitive here – and that’s great not only for the obvious reasons, but because you definitely feel like your work is worthy and valuable.

My eagerness to grow up as a professional played a key part in my decision too: Helsinki has an interesting and big game industry and community. Additionally, working in a company that supports your growth is amazing, and it looks like Finland and Wondershop have the kind of work–life balance that makes it easier to not burn out in the process."

How was the relocation process for you?

"I had a company helping me in almost every step of the way which made the physical part of moving easy. Everything went out pretty smoothly, except for a couple vicious circles of not having a Finnish phone number, and for that not being able to receive packages, sign contracts and so on. Other than that, everything was fast, easy and intuitive.

Bureaucracy is the thing I hate most in life, and I was happy to find out that everything bureaucracy-related is super automated in Finland. That saved me from more than a headache."

You moved to Helsinki a few months ago. How have you liked it here in Helsinki – are you still in the honeymoon phase or has it already ended between you two?

"I feel like I’ve been in the honeymoon phase since I arrived – and still am. I think April was a very good month to arrive, since I got to see a bit of snow and I experienced a bit of cold, but the spring was already around. There’s been sunlight all day and very nice temperatures, also festivals and cultural things to explore around the city.

I’m not sure if I’ll be as happy in the winter but that’s still to be seen. :)"

What's one thing you love the most about Helsinki, the one thing you couldn’t live without anymore?

"Having the opportunity to self-service everywhere – restaurants, shops, libraries, transportation, bureaucracy… Living in a city that gives you space and allows you to be autonomous gives you a brand new mindset.

I’m also a big fan of nature and love how the recycling system is well designed and functioning. The restaurants in Helsinki mix a lot of cooking styles and they are all delicious and the amount of vegetarian options everywhere is awesome. I love the Finnish culture of reusing things: there are a lot of second hand stores for clothes, furniture, you name it."

What has been the biggest difference to Spain where you come from?

"Probably the weather. I come from a very warm place, where summer almost starts in May and continues until September. Here it’s quite the opposite – summer is pretty short, and the temperatures aren’t so high. Actually, I’m still a bit lost with what kind of clothing I should wear when the cold arrives, but I hope I will sort that out later.

Also, funnily enough, the language: to me it feels like Finnish is quite descriptive, in a way. I think a language is a reflection of a culture, and I can tell that Finns people are usually attentive, descriptive to the details and patient."

We’re curious: if you could change one thing in Helsinki or Finland, what would that be?

"Maybe the slot machines: they can be even in supermarkets, and I don’t feel very comfortable around those."

Finland has been named the happiest country in the world five times in a row. What are your thoughts on that?

"I would lie if I told you that I didn’t think that was an overstatement some months ago. But now that I’m here and I know what kind of quality of life I can achieve here, I think I understand and share that thought."

If this got you hungry for more, we have collected some of our favorite things about Helsinki and Finland here. And if you’re interested in working with us but based outside Finland, don’t worry – we will support you with relocation if needed. See our open positions or drop an open application here!